Google’s Next-Gen Fuchsia OS Makes Commercial Debut On Nest Hub
We have been writing about Google's experimental Fuchsia operating system for nearly five years now, and it has finally made an official debut of sorts. While still experimental in the sense that is not yet being pushed out to consumer devices on a large scale, it is being tested on commercial devices in the wild, and specifically Google's Nest Hub.
Built from the ground up, Google's Fuchsia OS is, in Google's words, "designed to prioritize security, updatability, and performance." Google has also called it a "long-term project to create an open source operating system" that is not Linux, unlike Android and Chrome OS. Instead, it is built on new kernel Google developed called Zircon (previously known as Magenta).
Petr Hosek, technical lead of the Fuchsia OS team, celebrated the milestone on Twitter saying, "You don't ship a new operating system every day, but today is that day." In a follow-up tweet, he confirmed that the rollout is "starting with the first-generation Nest Hub." As such, it replaces the smart home gadget's Cast OS, and is likely just the beginning for Fuchsia's rollout.
To be clear, Hosek did not reveal any other plans for Fuchsia that might be pending. However, it is conceivable that if testing goes well, it could become the de facto operating system for Made by Google devices. If not, it will certainly carve out a niche for itself among the group. Google's Hiroshia Lockheimer hinted at this a couple of years.
"It’s not just phones and PCs. In the world of IoT, there are increasing number of devices that require operating systems and new runtimes and so on. I think there’s a lot of room for multiple operating systems with different strengths and specializations. Fuchsia is one of those things and so, stay tuned," Lockheimer said.
The first-gen Nest Hub came out in 2018 (called Google Home Hub at the time). The switch from Cast OS to Fuchsia OS should be seamless, in that the smart device will function the same as before. If all goes right, users should not even notice the OS swap, as the UI and other elements will not change.
Google's plan is to push Fuchsia out to first-gen Nest Hub owners who are in the Preview Program over the next few months. And then from there it is anyone's guess.
Will Fuchsia ever replace Android? Probably not, though it is interesting to note that it has previously been confirmed to run Android apps. It's also been internally tested on other devices, including Google's Pixelbook, and could one day run on laptops and smartphones in the wild.
In the meantime, Google's interactive Fucshia web demo is still online, if you want to kick the tires of an earlier implementation.